The Bay County School District appears to be starting down the road to an extraordinary turnaround in math and science. You could become part of it by joining the team at the Deane Bozeman School, a public PreK-12 school located 12 miles north of Lynn Haven (and 15 miles north of the Panama City Mall) in rural northern Bay County. Bozeman presently has 1,300 students.
Here is a letter written to potential applicants by Bozeman’s principal, Josh Balkom:
You are receiving this email because Searchsoft has identified you as an applicant who has, or is eligible for, Florida certification in Biology and/or Physics and/or Chemistry. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THIS PART!!
I need you at my school!
Bozeman is an amazing K-12 school nestled in a more rural area of Bay County. We have incredible parental support, a warm and loving school community and we’d love to add a highly effective well qualified science teacher to our secondary staff.
Please email the principal, Josh Balkom, directly at the firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any interest in finding out more about this amazing opportunity.
Yes, Bozeman is looking for a renaissance science teacher at the high school level.
Here’s why you want to be part of what’s happening with Bay County Schools:
Anybody who reads the graphs in my blog carefully knows that what has distinguished Bay County in the past has been that it underperformed in preparing students for STEM careers. Its physics enrollment rate last spring – that is, the number of students registered for physics courses in district schools divided by the number of 12th graders – was 6.1. That compares to 23 for the state, about 45 for Leon County and about 70 for Brevard and Seminole Counties. In all, Bay County had 101 students registered for physics classes this spring.
And the story was similar in chemistry and upper level math courses.
But for this coming fall, there are six sections of physics – about 150 students – at Bay High School (the district’s lowest SES school) alone. Altogether, the district will be well over 200 physics students.
What happened? (Or more to the point, What is happening?) The district has always had the pieces in place to make a rapid move upward in math and science education. Most people know Panama City as a tourist destination, but the city is anchored by Tyndall Air Force Base and a major research and development laboratory complex run by the Navy. Florida State University’s Panama City branch campus includes a small but strong engineering school. Gulf Coast State College now features the Advanced Technology Center.
There are four medium-sized high schools in Panama City and Panama City Beach – Arnold, Bay, Mosley and Rutherford. Five certified physics teachers are located at those four schools (Dirk Naegele at Arnold, Lance King and Sean O’Donnell at Mosley, Nancy Browne at Bay, and at Rutherford Rachel Morris, who won Governor Scott’s Shine Award for teachers).
But what happened is that a group of leaders at the school and district levels – a group that includes district staff, assistant principals, guidance counselors, academic program coordinators and teachers – has decided that enough is enough and they are going to make math and science in Bay County first-rate. I will mention three leaders at the district level – Superintendent Bill Husfelt, Science Supervisor Katie McCurdy and Board Member Ginger Littleton – and stop there because I have had the privilege to meet and work with many extraordinary people at the school level and I can’t list them all here. If you want a visible taste of what’s happening in Bay County, read this from last Sunday’s Panama City News Herald.
Heck, even FSU President John Thrasher has gotten into it. He authorized a purchase of $40,000 of physics teaching lab equipment to be used at Bay, Mosley and Rutherford High Schools. That equipment will be in place for the fall semester.
It’s happening in Bay County, folks. There will be pushback and there will be speed bumps. But it’s happening.
You know you want to be part of it. And Bozeman is giving you a chance.
I met Bozeman Principal Josh Balkom at one of the monthly meetings this past school year at which school and district staff discussed how to increase enrollments in upper level math and science classes. Bozeman is an environment that is quite different from the district’s four main high schools. But Principal Balkom wants to make sure that his students have the same opportunities that students at Arnold, Bay, Mosley and Rutherford have. Take my word for it – he is serious.
The Bozeman job is an extraordinary opportunity for a teacher who wants to be in on the project to change the life trajectories of students. All the pieces are in place for success.
Send Josh Balkom an e-mail and let him know you are interested.